With the announcement that star John Tavares will miss the remainder of the NHL season with a knee injury, the New York Islanders say they plan to rebuild Tavares as a half-human half-robot cyborg hybrid known as "RoboJohn."
Michigan-based megacorporation Omni Consumer Products will head Tavares' surgery and body reconstruction using new, proprietary technology that fuses human tissue to cutting edge robotics. Known primarily for its focus on military machinery and weapons manufacturing, OCP has created high tech products for almost all consumers and sees RoboJohn as its entry into the field of athletic cyborgs through its Sports Concepts division.
On Thursday, Islanders GM Garth Snow voiced his anger and frustration at having his team's best player hurt in a non-NHL game and wondered aloud who is most affected by a brutal injury like the one suffered by Tavares. Through its partnership with the Islanders, OCP is set to ease everyone's mind by looking towards the future.
"Here at Sports Concepts, we're predicting the end of injuries in sports within 40 days," said OCP executive Bob Morton. "There's a new player in town. His name is RoboJohn."
Morton said RoboJohn is expected to be ready for Islanders training camp in September and will be programmed with three directives: Serve the public fan trust, protect his teammates and uphold the logo.
RoboJohn's full body will be sheathed in titanium plating that is laminated with kevlar. His bones, ligaments, muscles and joints will be replaced with robotic and hydraulic components capable of exerting over 400 pounds of pressure in a single hand grip and withstanding direct attacks by bullets and knives.
The project is the apex of OCP's research and development into cyborg athletes. Earlier testing with full robots programmed to play sports were unsuccessful.
"I say good business is where you find it," said OCP senior president Dick Jones. "Our EDZO-209 program did have a few glitches and setbacks. But we will make sure RoboJohn is 100 percent safe for commercial use. He's our product and we can't very well have our products turning against us, can we?"
OCP would not discuss the cost of bringing RoboJohn to life, but sources, speaking on condition of strict anonymity, said that the company may be angling for a stake or perhaps outright ownership of the Islanders or possibly the entire NHL in exchange for the cyborg player technology.
Tavares, the Islanders captain and a Hart Trophy candidate for NHL MVP in 2013, suffered his injury in Team Canada's 2-1 win over Latvia in the quarterfinals of the men's hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. After being checked against the boards by defenseman Arturs Kulda, Tavares left the game and was diagnosed with a torn MCL and meniscus, ending his season.
Although he will no longer be the John Tavares they've come to know, the Islanders are hopeful that he will retain at least some of the memories and elements of his personality that OCP plans to wipe clean during the RoboJohn creation process.
"They said he'll have no name any more, that he'll be just a 'product,'" said longtime teammate and friend Josh Bailey. "But Johnny will still be in there. I know it."
OCP insists that the wholesale remake of Tavares' body is completely necessary and not some pointless grasp at the eyes and dollars of a new, younger audience that may not remember the original and often transcendent player he was when he first caught everyone's attention.
"He's going to be a bad motherfucker," Morton said.